Since this distinction seems to be as vague as the definition of spyware, it is difficult to discuss it out of context. However, the distinction found at the site below seems to help towards a clarification.http://www.worldprivacyforum.org/cookieoptout.html
The author distinguishes, as I read him, between cookies that are designed to allow you to use a website with personal preferences, and those that collect "...a great deal of information about what Web sites you visit and what you look at and do at those Web sites." These are often associated with cookies used by marketing companies that track your usage (profiling information) across many web pages.
The distinction made seems as good as any, but I am sure that if you do some research using Google, you will find slightly different usages.
Edited by jgweed, 05 May 2005 - 04:06 PM.